Brother in Arms' J Boogie and Deejay Theory on Making Soulful Disco Fit for a Cliffside in Jamaica
Two is better than one, especially when it comes to putting minds together to craft new music. Brother in Arms consists of local DJs J Boogie and Theory, who came together after making remixes together for David Heartbreak's Moombahsoul III compilation series. Characterizing their music as "something like Grace Jones making love to Todd Terje," their soulful disco could soundtrack a long afternoon of lying poolside in the tropics. Although Brother in Arms has only been an official duo for less than a year, Boogie and Theory have already made remixes for Whiskey Disco and Equal, and are working on completing an EP of original tracks. We spoke with J Boogie and Theory about their name, how they developed a sound, and learning to work with each other. They play as Brother in Arms with John Tejada headlining this Friday, Feb. 28, at Monarch.
J Boogie and Theory
Tell us how you started working together.
J Boogie (J): We were both dabbling in moombahsoul production and started doing remixes together for David Heartbreak's compilation series. We got some major blog love and good feedback from our DJ family, so we kept it going.
Deejay Theory (T): Our first official collab as J Boogie and Deejay Theory was conceived in 2011 during the moombahsoul era. We put together and released a remix of the mellow Mos Def classic "The Panties" and at the same time started the concept for what would later become one of our current Brother in Arms tunes, "Stronger."
What inspired the name Brother in Arms?
J: Sensitive subject. Theory came up with the name, and then we went into brainstorm mode and got lost trying to top it. We have a list like twenty pages long of potential names.
T: In the end it's just the homies, together as one battling the wackness with vibes.
How did you guys decide which genre was right for you?
T: We both have a history with the genres we're working with, but are also super diverse with our styles, so it was an idea that appealed to both of us where we can have a dedicated lane for the deeper stuff in the house, disco, and R&B arena.
J: We both wanted to work on something outside the box, stepping away from what we're known for. Moombahsoul was a sort of bridge into house, disco, garage, and other uptempo vibes. I'm a fiend for disco breaks, and Theory loves to remix R&B joints. We just wanted to make some favorite tunes DJ-friendly.
What was the first track you guys made?
J: "Take Your Time" from Moombahsoul III.
T: Aside from that, we started jamming in the studio we share in S.F. on some originals and DJ edits. It all kind of happened at once in one organic motion.
What's the ideal setting of where one would hear your music?
T: Cliffside in Jamaica, female under arm, Red Stripe in hand.
J: Rooftop in paradise.
What was behind the idea of releasing tracks for free?
J: People don't pay for music anymore.
T: It's likely that we'll continue incorporate some samples into our music, so that stuff we'll always give away for free for people to enjoy.
Are you guys planning on releasing an EP soon or just edits and remixes at this point?
J: There will definitely be an EP of originals. We already have a few we've been playing out.
As solo DJ and producers, what was most challenging to learn when working with someone else?
J: Let go of your ego and let someone else grab the wheel.
T: Music production is a delicate and super personal process, so you have to click with the person you're working with. The fact that we were already homies and had a mutual respect for each other as artists was the key ingredient.
You guys must spending a lot of time with each other in the studio. What's was the most surprising thing you learned about the other person?
J: Theory is addicted to making beats. You can't pull him out of the studio.
T: That J Boogie has a mean thizz face when he hears a dope bassline.